Jared discusses how to be a good dungeon master.
|How to be a Good DM|
|Upload Date||December 27th 2015|
Being the Dungeon Master is hard. There is a lot of responsibility on you. Jared has been doing it for a long time, and has a lot of experience. A lot of the things that make a good player, also make a good DM. The DM is responsible for the fun. The DM is in charge of game design. The enjoyment comes from seeing enjoyment from seeing other people experience it. If you enjoy making levels in Super Mario Maker, it is the same kind of thing.
The biggest tip of being a dungeon master is whenever your players say something, your response is "yes". The players are in control of themselves. If they are doing something dumb, you can tell them that they shouldn't do something, but usually the DM should let the player do whatever they want.
It is possible to come up with checks to make sure the player deserves being able to do something outlandish. Of course, you have to control "that guy". When you have reasonable players, just say yes.
Avoid railroading people. You can do that when you are starting out, but try to avoid railroading. You need to give the player a sense of freedom. The player could think of something the DM didn't even think of.
Let there be consequences for what the player's do. If they help a town or not, let that be reflected in the game.
Jared blames video games for DM's making cutscenes. When telling a cutscene, players can intervene in the cutscene to change the outcome. The player has had impact. When Jared used to do this, his players became frustrated. The characters aren't frozen when things happen. Jared tells a story about Josh trying to intervene a cutscene, and Jared as the DM tried to stop him. DM's shouldn't do that.
DM's can hide rolls from players to hide results from the players. You don't want to take too much rolling away from the players. Players will want to talk to people you weren't prepared for. Have a quick list of names available. Giving a character a name gives them personality.
If the players wanted to go somewhere where you didn't prepare, you can move something that you had planned elsewhere, and they would think you had it planned the whole time! Don't be afraid to re-purpose some things.
When Jared makes his own adventures, and designing encounters, he asks why is it important, and how can it be made interesting? Every battle has to be more than a fight for a fight sake. Every battle has to feel like it has a purpose. What were the enemies doing when the players found them? If people get into a tavern brawl, let the players use everything in the bar.
All monsters and creatures generally want to live. If they are dying, let them run away. The players will still get experience just for defeating them. Don't let the rules dictate your fun. A lot of people will remember every rule in the book, and will follow them all and slow the game down. The DM is allowed to change the rules. The books are never "the rules". Don't be afraid to change the rules if it will make it more fun.